Human rights

Slave-like conditions at carwashes

Carwashes have become a new market in which asylum-seekers and undocumented immigrants are exploited as cheap labour under slave-like conditions, TT news agency writes, citing a report by Swedish Radio’s investigative news programme Kaliber.

“This is a new phenomenon,” Jerk Wiberg with the border police in Stockholm told TT.

“Last year we didn’t crack down on any carwashes. This year we have intervened at 23 of them,” said Wiberg. Police found discovered 19 illegal immigrants working in about half the carwashes. Border police in Gothenburg and Malmö have also discovered undocumented migrants working at carwashes.

Several people Kaliber spoke with said workdays were 10 to 12 hours long and that the hourly wage was between 20 and 30 Swedish kroner (between 3 and 4.5 US dollars) an hour.

“The people working at these carwashes are labouring under slave-like conditions akin to  human trafficking,” Conny Svensson at the Swedish tax authority in Gothenburg, told Kaliber.

Man of them even live at the carwashes. “We have seen mattresses on the floors in the offices,” said Wiberg.